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Sun, Dec 30, 2007

Santa Travels By Angel Flight

GA Pilots "Give Back" To Others During Holiday Season

ANN Reader Bob Rose tipped us off to a bit of holiday cheer that took place over the holidays... namely Angel Flight West's 2007 "Santa Flight."

As they tell it, "on Saturday morning, December 22nd the Nevada Wing of Angel Flight West launched a very special event from the North Las Vegas Airport. Our KVGT based Angel Flight pilots loaded up 15 airplanes, ranging from a Decathlon all the up to a couple of 414's and a TBM-700 with food, toys, and medical supplies. They also carried Santa and a Channel 3 news crew as they departed for Cedar City, UT to bring Christmas to 5 bands of the Paiute Indian tribe. As you may be aware, Angel Flight is a non-profit organization that arranges free air transportation to people with health care and other compelling human needs. All services are free of charge and the pilots of Angel Flight donate their time, aircraft and expenses to fly thousands of missions each year. Angel Flight West covers 13 western US states and has over 1800 volunteer pilots, many of whom are based at KVGT in North Las Vegas."

Angel Flight Santa Flights actually began with the Utah wing of Angel Flight West out of Salt Lake City on December 15th, reaching 6 remote destinations on reservations around the region, culminating in the big push to Cedar City in conjunction with the Nevada pilots on the 22nd. The U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots program donated almost all of the toys staged from Las Vegas. The LDS church donated 60,000 pounds of food (no kidding, 50 pallets!) along with pallets of shoes of all sizes. Globus Relief supplied 22 pallets of medical supplies, and they received generous cash donations from Wal-Mart and the Las Vegas community to round out the array of toys for the older children and adults.

By the time the last Angel Flight aircraft lifted off into the sunset from Cedar City on Saturday afternoon, Angel Flight West had brought Christmas to approximately 2600 Native American families representing seven of the poorest and most needy tribes in the Southwest.

Next year, Angel Flight and the Nevada wing based at VGT plan to expand this wonderful event into the Silver State to serve the many Nevada Native American tribes located in remote areas of Nevada. In addition to delivering lots of toys, goodies, food, help and hope, they expect help from the Air National Guard in the form of a C-130 for heavy lift (this year they had to use some trucks) and a Marine Honor Guard from the Marines Toys for Tots program.

(There ya go, folks... more proof for our belief that aviators are some of the best folks on/over earth... -- JIm Campbell, ANN E-I-C)

FMI: www.angelflightwest.org, or call them at 1-888-426-2643

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